tax forms

Difference Between 1040EZ and 1040A Tax Form

To file your individual tax return, you’ll have to decide which form to use…unless you e-file. If you file electronically, the software automatically selects the simplest and best form for you. Whether you use e-file or prepare on paper, using the simplest form will help avoid costly errors or processing delays. And remember, if you file electronically, it speeds up the processing of your tax return and the delivery of your refund. Two of the forms used for filing individual federal income tax returns are IRS Form 1040A and IRS Form 1040EZ (the third is IRS Form 1040, the most complex of the three). Anyone can file Form 1040; however, you have to meet certain requirements to use 1040EZ or 1040A.

 

Difference Between 1040A and 1040EZ

The IRS Form 1040A is one of three forms you can use to file your federal income tax return. Form 1040A is a shorter version of the more detailed Form 1040, but is more complex than the simple 1040EZ form. All taxpayers can use Form 1040; however, to use Form 1040A you must satisfy a number of requirements, such as having taxable income of $100,000 or less and claiming the standard deduction rather than itemizing.

Here are things to consider when deciding which IRS form to file. The differences between a 1040EZ and 1040A are discussed below.

 

Use the 1040EZ Tax Form if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000
  • Your filing status is Single or Married Filing Jointly
  • You and your spouse – if married — are under age 65 and not blind
  • You are not claiming any dependents
  • Your interest income is $1,500 or less
  • You are not claiming the additional standard deduction for real estate taxes, taxes on the purchase of a new motor vehicle, or disaster losses

Form 1040EZ is the briefest version of the 1040. You can’t itemize deductions or claim any adjustments to income or tax credits (except for the Earned Income Credit), and you can’t have any income from self-employment, alimony, dividends or capital gains.

 

Use the 1040A Tax Form if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000
  • You have capital gain distributions
  • You claim certain tax credits
  • You claim deductions for IRA contributions, student loan interest, educator expenses or higher education tuition and fees

Form 1040A is not as complex as Form 1040, but is longer than 1040EZ. Form 1040A allows you to claim a number of deductions that you are not able to on 1040EZ. If you can’t use Form 1040EZ, you may be able to use 1040A

 

If you cannot use the 1040EZ or the 1040A, you’ll probably need to file using the 1040. You must use the 1040 if:

  • Your taxable income is $100,000 or more
  • You claim itemized deductions
  • You are reporting self-employment income
  • You are reporting income from sale of property

The filing status and exemptions section of Form 1040A is similar to the corresponding section on Form 1040. Due to the limited types of income you can receive and the limited adjustments to income you can make on Form 1040A, the income and adjusted gross income sections of Form 1040A are much shorter. One of the most significant differences between the two forms is that you can itemize deductions on Form 1040 but not on Form 1040A.

 

While everyone is able to file the 1040, the 1040 opens you up to the most potential tax credits.

This is why, if you are not sure, it is still desirable to take the extra time and fill this document out. Also, if you run your own small business or you have been experimenting with it this year, even if you haven’t incorporated yet, the 1040 is the document for you to use.

 

Other Items You May Find Useful from IRS: